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Even if you don't use GarageBand...

We're not closed to other types of sequencing software. As long as you are into digital music recording/ mixing, we'd love to have you on board.

GarageBand ’09 demo: Mike, Eric & Merle

June 13, 2009

The event organiser sent me these pics of Mike, Eric and Merle, from City Music, at their demo held in May 09.
Mike Eric & Merle

Mike Eric Merle3

Mike Eric Merle4

The trio will be at Juzz1 (Funan) on 20-21 June 2009 and Pacific City (IMM) on 27-28 June 2009. I’m informed their performance would be more technical, as they’ll go into details of using MIDI.


Jack and Rai at GarageBand ’09 demo, Wheelock Place Apple Centre

May 30, 2009

[4 June 09 UPDATE: The event organisers requested I highlight that Jack and Rai will be performing again at Wheelock Place, Sunday 7 June 2009, from 2.30pm onwards. Email your name and HP no. at to indicate your interest.

Now what the event organisers, nor Jack and Rai, didn’t tell me to say, which I’ll say it willingly and sincerely, is this: Go for Jack and Rai’s session if you wish to speak to a couple of easy-going and approachable guys. Who’ll gladly answer your questions about GarageBand and/ or recording and producing music.  :)]

[From this earlier post]

At first I wasn’t sure what I’d learn from the demo session. Not that I already know everything there is about GarageBand. Just that the demo is bound to cover only GB basics. Still, best to keep an open mind when it comes to learning. So I made my way to the 4.30pm session at the Wheelock Place Apple Store, to catch Jack and Rai.

And I’m glad I went.

I was right about the demo session covering only the basics of recording and mixing with GB. Nothing new for me in that sense.
GarageBand 09 demo 31/05/2009

But the demonstrators, Jack and Rai (pronounced “Ray”) were a blast to watch! Very natural and engaging.

Rai’s on the left and Jack’s on the right.
Jack and Rai, 31/05/2009

Jack and Rai , GarageBand '09 demo- 31/05/2009Line 6 pod farm interface. 31/05/2009

Those two seasoned Singapore musicians were clearly in their element, doing a “live” public performance/ demo. They showed the basics of:

  • Choosing a tempo/ beat
  • Creating/ modifying a drum track, bass
  • Recording a “live” guitar track
  • Recording “live” voice

Rai created impromptu lyrics to Jack’s simple and melodic guitar rhythm track. That Rai can sing sia (check this out!) They fashioned a decent sounding rock-pop song in minutes (hey guys, how about uploading the track to ccMixter?)
Jack and Rai. GarageBand '09 demo. 31/05/2009

What was new to me was the Line 6 KB37 Toneport and the Pod Farm plug-in (the latter would be a boon if you plan to record “live” guitars and bass with GarageBand). Something I’ll seriously look into. Wonder if I can just get the Pod Farm plug-in for my GarageBand ’08.
Jack and Rai. GarageBand '09 demo. 31/05/2009

Here’s a closer look at the Line 6 KB37. Rai’s playing the Korg nanoPAD, which was also something new to me. The nanoPAD serves as a portable MIDI keypad. Pretty nifty as an alternative to a full-sized MIDI keyboard.
GarageBand '09 demo. Wheelock Place. 31/05/2009

After the session, I went to thank the guys (actually I managed to speak to Jack only). Nice chap.

I pointed to Jack that he’d mentioned the MIDI interface was needed to record the guitar (and that you couldn’t record a “live” guitar otherwise). After the session, I spoke to Jack and said actually one could jack the guitar direct to the Mac. That’s how I record my guitar tracks, via a Griffen iMic:
Griffen iMic

To Jack’s credit, he wasn’t offended when I told him that. He said he’ll check it out. Strangely, the Wheelock Place Apple Store didn’t seem to carry the iMic (or maybe I missed it).

Nice session overall.

Here’s two specific suggestions for Apple Singapore (the organiser) to consider:

  • If the aim was to show the ease of creating music with GarageBand by non-musicians, maybe the demonstrators shouldn’t have used something like the Line 6 KB37. Cos to non-musicians, the Line 6 KB37 would look really intimidating or inaccessible. Like, “That looks way too complicated for my needs”. However, I’ve to qualify that this is purely my opinion. The best judge might be the casual customer.
  • Alternatively, Apple Store might want to organise a more targeted workshop for musicians — amateurs and semi-pros alike. I can imagine a session where bands (especially teens) could learn more about recording, mixing and engineering their sounds. GarageBand would be perfect in producing their albums with a relatively modest budget. Or how about tying up with the public library huh? (disclosure: I work for the public library, but that’s just a personal idea)

Anyway, I’ve certainly no complaints about Jack and Rai as demonstrators. They were able to explain the GB basics in simple terms (non-musicians won’t feel intimidated but neither would musicians feel dumbed-down). And they did it in a lively and engaging manner.

Good job, guys.

Check them out at Here’s their Facebook Fanpage (I just added myself there!) and their YouTube channel. Their recent addition is a Twitter at

BTW, I realised I’ve “conversed” with Rai before. Via the NLB’s teens blog — check out the comments!

Hmm… I wonder if I can interest Jack and Rai for a GarageBand Meetup SG/ demo thingy. Pro-bono though.

GarageBand demos at Apple Stores in Singapore (May & June 2009)

May 29, 2009

Calling all GB fans and budding musicians (who’re looking at afforable ways to produce your own music):

GarageBand ‘09 is an exciting weekend event where popular local musicians will make music and jam with the public with the help of Apple’s new GarageBand software.

From 30-31 May, 20-21 June and 27-28 June, acclaimed duo Jack and Rai will perform their best hits LIVE on GarageBand while sharing their secrets on making and recording digital music with its amplifiers and audio effects.

Peter, Eric and Merle as skilled GarageBand musicians will also show you how easy it is write songs, record vocals and instruments on MIDI Controllers while exporting your soundtracks to your iTunes or iPhone.

Don’t miss out on their exciting display by registering today! Sign up now at with your name and contact no.

The event organiser contacted me, asking if I could help blog about this. Being a GB fan, I said “Sure!”

I’ve not been given a website to point you to the information. If you want to verify the above event and/ or have questions for the organiser, you can email me and I’ll put you in touch with them.

Here are the publicity posters:

Creating a fuller electric guitar sound (or customising Real Instruments effects)

May 23, 2009

After discovering GarageBand, I no longer plug any stomp boxes or guitar effects. I connect my electric guitar to my Macbook Pro direct. All effects are via GarageBand.

I typically combine a few layers of amp effects to get a fuller sound for the electric guitar.

To Be Free 2009

This is the setting for my custom “Brit-Wah” amp effect:
To Be Free 2009

Settings for my custom “TubeScream” amp effect:
To Be Free 2009

If you wish to customise your own guitar effects, just pick a Guitar setting and modify from there. Then click “Save Instrument”. You’ll be prompted to rename the instrument. Type in a new name and save it.
Customising the GarageBand Real Instrument settings

This is the song: TO BE FREE (2009)

Composed, performed (electric lead and bass guitars), arranged, mixed and sound engineered by Ivan Chew. Please credit to Download at
Creative Commons LicenseTo Be Free (2009) by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at ramblinglibrarian [at]


Dave Weiner: Recording acoustic guitar

May 9, 2009

Dave Weiner shows how to set up the microphones for recording acoustic guitars. He talks about using different mics, the placement of the mics. Also mentions a little bit about the mixing.


Very useful stuff.

Midi Tips: Arpeggios Made Easy

March 1, 2009

Chinmay aka NTT emailed this to the group:

I just saw this youtube video about creating quick and easy Arpeggios using MIDI. You can do this using Garageband’s Sequencer. Instead of using hotkeys, in GarageBand you can just select the Midi Notes and drag them up or down accordingly.

The software in the YouTube video is Cubase Studio 4 (I’m not familiar with it). In GarageBand, you can import/ record MIDI tracks. More about MIDI here.

Thanks for this, Chinmay.

Creating stereo tracks in GarageBand

January 17, 2009

This comment by Kris reminded me I had this post on how to create stereo tracks in GarageBand. I’m re-posting it here, but first, let me clarify on Kris’ comment that “duplicating tracks is a great way to create stereo tracks but it’s not the most effective“.

I feel both methods are different. They result in a different sound effect rather than one being more effective than the other.

Kris prefers to create a stereo track by recording a second track by playing in a slightly different manner. That’s certainly a cool technique, and one that I use from time to time (like this guitar instrumental). It’s a technique frequently used in rock ballads.

I’d also agree it sounds more interesting than merely duplicating a track, but I won’t say that is “better”. ‘Cos it depends on what sound you wish to create. Sometimes, the guitar track isn’t the prominent track to be featured so a quick way to create that stereo sound (from a mono recording) is to just duplicate the track.

Anyway, I’ve incorporated the method that Kris’ prefers to the post. What I’d correct from my previous post is to not say it’s the two “main” ways. More accurate to say it’s two possible ways 🙂

Here it is:

  1. Use the “Chorus –> Spread Stereo” effects setting
  2. Create a duplicate track (or record another track), then adjust the Track Pan settings to create a Left and Right track

[Take a read at Kris’ post as well, which covers other useful tips in using GarageBand].

METHOD #1: CHORUS – SPREAD STEREO (click on the image to see larger sizes)
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A1-1)
GarageBand records in Mono (I’m using iLife ’06). At the Track Info panel, under Input, it says “Channel 1 (Mono)”. It’s still Mono even if you select “Channel 1 & 2 (Stereo)”.

Chorus” effect. You can instantly hear the difference.
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A1-2)
One easy way to get the stereo effect is to select the “Spread Stereo” option from the

If you don’t want to use any effects to distort your original recording, here’s an alternative to using the Chorus Spread Stereo effect.

METHOD #2: Track Pan settings (click on the image to see larger sizes)
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A2-1)
After you’ve recorded your track, make a Duplicate Track. Then copy the recording (from your first track) and paste to the duplicate track.

Click on the “Track Volume/ Pan Curve” button (i.e. the little triangle icon). The choose “Track Pan“.

iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A2-2)
Adjust the tracks to pan to the left and right respectively.

TIP: If you can’t seem to be able to get both tracks to have the same Pan curve number, don’t stress yourself out. Seems there’s always a +1 difference between the left and right pan. In my case, I have the top pan track set to “-34” and the bottom track to “+35”. You can never get “-34” and “+34”.